Tag Archives: Uermi

Hungry for Inspiration – Day 3 of Esxence 2019

By the time my third day in Milan came to be I grew a certain level of tiredness, so I decided that I don’t need to push myself anymore and just try to enjoy my final day at Esxence, whatever it might bring. As usual weekend was open to the public so you could expect a bigger crowd of people anyway, which quite successfully reduces one’s chances of being a productive explorer.

I started the day by attending a lecture by Michael Edwards titled “From niche to niche: the evolution of French perfumery” in which he talked about the greatest perfumers of different times, from Guy Robert to Dominique Ropion and Calice Becker and how niche were their ideas for the fragrances that were released in their respective times and how over the last century they’ve been using the ingredients nobody dared to use until they did. He also used this opportunity to share with the audience the news about 2 new books he’s been working on but I already knew about this.

Immediately after this lecture ended I was supposed to meet with Pissara Umavijani, creator & perfumer of Parfums Dusita but when I arrived at her stand she was missing. Just a moment earlier she started a livestream outside and continued as she came back. We started talking about the idea behind the name that I chose for her new fragrance (Reve d’Aurore, one of the winners in naming competition), in the context of Splendiris we also talked about working with iris and we had a deeper discussion about what it really takes to create a successful scent and how many people were involved. All this was recorded so it felt a bit as if Pissara was interviewing me, not vice versa.

On that day I ended up talking with a lot of people, mostly friends with whom I wanted to chat even if they were not showing any new releases at that particular time. So I talked with Olivier Durbano, with Celine Verleure, Nicolas Chabot, a bit more with Megan Paki & Jean Philippe Clermont.

There was also a moment when I could sit down together with Rania Jouaneh at a more quiet moment and talk about her newest creation + smell it of course. She decided to work on a musk. Even thought it’s a very popular note, with Musc Moschus she managed to create something between white musk and filthy musk. The scent is animalic but in an elegant way and with a lovely creaminess in the drydown. For unknown reasons I didn’t take a photo of the bottle…

Encouraged by Ana who tried the fragrance before I decided to stop at FO’AH stand. This new brand which launched in 2018 is owned by Emilie Dewell who wanted to combine her two worlds: French and Arabic into a perfume line. Emilie thought palm tree would be the perfect symbol so the bottle the brand uses resembles a palm tree trunk structure. In addition to that FO’AH teamed with Givaudan in creating a special and unique palm tree note incorporated into each of 5 scents the brand is offering. I enjoyed two of them, Memoires d’une Palmeraie 02 and 08.

In the afternoon I had a chance to meet with Neela Vermeire, a person who I believe needs no introduction to anyone who loves a niche perfume of top sort. We sat for about 30 minutes and talked about the show and what is generally happening in this segment of perfumery. Unfortunately Neela had to back out from exhibiting with NVC this year but she still came to Milan and did some meetings with business partners outside of Esxence. I hope it was a fruitful trip to her.

One of interesting new discoveries of Saturday was this brand named Essential Parfums. The concept is to use a simple bottle, an eco-friendly packaging made of couple layers of carton glued together and to feature at least one sustainable ingredient in each fragrance. They’re working with most renowned and recognized perfumers while the brand itself is super-affordable, charging 69 euro for a 100 ml bottle (or 18 euro for 10 ml travel spray). After smelling the entire range I was surprised in a very positive way and it’s a proof that niche can be great without costing a fortune.

My very last stop at Esxence was Uermi. The brand completely changed the look of the bottles to the round bottom ones from previously used rectangular shape. They also reworked a couple of fragrances to make them more polished. The brand new thing at the stand was NU Leather – a fragrance developed by Luca Maffei. It was a soft and embracing take on leather.

And so Saturday at Esxence came to an end and it was time for me to say goodbye to everyone and to say goodbye to the exhibition for another year (hopefully). In the evening there was a “Gala Party” organized by Esxence founders but since it was a themed party (dresscode: formal attire) & I got my invitation just before Easter when I was already packed I decided that I’m not going. Luckily I wasn’t alone as Elena was in a similar situation. As a party replacement we decided to meet in front of the Duomo and have a nice dinner together. We went to La Rinascente, made a tour around a ground floor dedicated to fragrance – mostly exclusive designer lines (as if we didn’t have enough perfume during last 3 days). We got a table at Obika at the rooftop of La Rinascente, at the patio outside, so we enjoyed our pizza, pasta and drinks as we were looking at the top of Duomo by our side. I bet it was much better than the party. That was the end of my little adventure. We both took different metro to go back to our places, I had to pack to be ready to leave at 6 AM on Sunday.

A couple of final thoughts. I didn’t count but there must have been a lot of new fragrances that were launched at Esxence and I only managed to try a part of them but I must tell you that the air around The Mall smelled of stagnation. There were a lot of nice scents but “nice” is a clue word here. They were “nice” – nothing more than that. Lots and lots of repetitiveness, a lack of originality and no new ideas. There were a lot of fresh creations, quite many inspired by seaside or Mediterranean cost. Green florals and soliflores were also quite common. It starts to become more obvious that niche is becoming more commercial and mainstreamed, fragrances are much more safe and appealing to a greater audience. Even brands that we know they took some risks in the past and prevailed are not as open to experimentation anymore. Each year I came to Esxence there was at least one fragrance that would mesmerize me, that would make me go wow! and fall in love with it immediately. This year I didn’t experience that feeling & because of that I feel kind of disappointed.

Another phenomenon that has shaken the ground of Esxence was that 2019, like no other year before, saw a huge number of vloggers, Youtubers and so-called influencers coming to the show. Every now and then you’d see one of them filming another video or an interview with a brand. They were all over the place and you could easily recognize them as they were walking down the aisles with handfuls of bags with full bottles. I’m not here to judge anyone because I don’t know these vlogging people. If brands want to be promoted via Youtube or Instagram it’s their choice but I have a feeling that this is not the rightest way and that to some extend it can even tarnish their good reputation and luxurious character in the eyes of the other people. But when you hear loud voices of these people trying to convince the brand to give them something of big value as a present or some waiting until Sunday to score a free tester bottle from the stand… this just leaves me speechless and thinking that they don’t come to Esxence to meet people, to connect and exchange opinions but rather to get a big “haul” as they say, to brag about how much they got and how much it’s worth.

And with this non-optimistic accent I’d like to end this 3-part series of my Esxence 2019 report. It was a great experience to meet with friends and with new people. But to discover new & exciting perfume – not so much this time… May these last lines be your food for thought. Niche, where are you going?

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Defining Undefined at Pitti Fragranze 2018 – part 2

First day of this year’s Pitti Fragranze sure was exciting and packed with many meetings and a wide variety of perfume. I expected that following days won’t be any worse & in fact they were not. Each day gave me something different. Also for the first time in the history of my Fragranze attendance I was at the fair for all 3 days so I got a new perspective by seeing how the last day looks like.

On Saturday I started my olfactory investigations by visting a stand of Soul Couture. This is a new brand of Italian origins & some of my friends recommended it as worth trying. At the stand I met Michele Marin, who founded this brand and who is a perfumer behind it. He created 6 different fragrances presented in simple & elegant bottles and boxes. I especially liked Weekend Postmoderno (with spices and iris), and Gender Ginger (with citrus, ginger and rosewood). It’s also one of the very few brands that offers travel-friendly size from the very beginning.

When I was passing next to Uermi booth I noticed they have some news too so I decided to spend there a few minutes to learn about them. They worked with perfumer Alexandra Carlin to develop two new compositions: SO Satin and UR Silk 19, a rework of UR Silk introduced 5 years ago. They also had a third one for which they teamed with Maurice Roucel. OR Damask is a lush red rose that I really liked. It had a full body and from the start you could smell it’s very well blended.

Miya Shinma didn’t present any new things as she still wanted to focus on the L’Eau de Miya Shinma collection. I said ‘wanted’ because she told me that she has been robbed. She shipped all of her perfume to Florence and when she wanted to organize the stand it turned out that someone stole all of the bottles of the new collection that were inside that box. It’s more than a misfortune – to come to the fair (which is not cheap!) and to not be able to present your latest achievements. So sad.

Have you ever heard of an Irish perfume brand Cloon Keen? Well I did and many years ago I even reviewed one when I got a sample in a swap. Ever since I was curious to smell the other fragrances in their range but it just never happened because I couldn’t get samples locally. This year they came to Florence and had their stand at Fragranze 16 – I could not overlook such occasion. I talked with Margaret Mangan, creator of Cloon Keen, who guided me through fragrances and candles. I’m telling you – I liked all of the scents. Lunasa and Frosted Moon stayed in my memory for long.

On that day another interesting discussion took place in a conference hall. Title of this panel discussion was ‘Asia & You’Chandler Burr as a host and 5 different people were blind-smelling around 20 fragrances and commenting whether it’s suitable for Asian market or no. The gimmick was that Chandler asked 20 random brands exhibiting at the fair to select ‘the most Asian’ scent from their range. Then at a panel those people had to come to the scene, shortly explain why they think it fits. This was followed by smelling, commenting and at the very end the name of brand and perfume was revealed. I think it was brave of all those brands since comments were often not nice. My friend, perfumer Alex Lee was one of the panelists and later when we talked he said he didn’t feel good doing it. It surely was a challenge as he didn’t want to offend anyone.

Beaufort is not a brand that belongs to the group of my brands but I decided to give a try to their new composition mostly because their stand was shared with Atelier des Ors where my friends were. New Rake & Ruin was very much like gin – super metallic, tons of juniper, lots of smoke and animalic ingredients. Absolutely not my cup of tea but at least I gave it a try, right?

Nowadays I think that Laboratorio Olfattivo is one of those brands that just have something new any time they exhibit, meaning new things are added to their range twice a year at least. After introducing a handy 30 ml bottle as well as travel kits (2 x 15 ml) now they presented a new perfume. Its name is Sacreste and it’s composed by Luca Maffei. The scent itself is very incensy but with a lot of warm oriental elements like saffron, cardamom, amber. It’s nice but not very new in terms of idea.

One of the completely new brands that appeared inside of Stazione Leopolda was Maison Rebatchi. For their debut they launched 4 fragrances but even if I’m alone in my impression I’m going to say it was a let-down. The bottles look kind of like boutique collection from Dior. Each scent was done by different perfumer and even if one of them was Bertrand Duchaufour didn’t convince me. And people there seemed annoyed they have to talk to me. I quickly lost my initial interest.

Dusita with Pissara Umavijani at its front was busy all the time but I managed to have a few minutes with her. Current focus is still on Erawan of course but Pissara let me smell the fragrance she’s been working on and which she’d like to launch in spring. Oh boy, it was very good, quite different from her previous creations… and it has a lot of iris! At Andy Tauer’s stand Les Annees 25 was the newest perfume but Andy also had his 2 candles (they just launched!) that I could smell. Extrait d’Atelier still focuses on Maitre Ceramiste – not rushing things is always good in perfumery.

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In the evening many of us went to a street party celebrating the opening of Campomarzio70 boutique at it’s new location in Florence. It was super crowded and we had to be careful because taxis and buses kept passing through. Afterwards I was supposed to get something to eat together with Nick Steward but the word spread and I actually started gathering people to come with us. We ended up having a fantastic dinner for 10 people. That’s it for day 2. Normally I would pack but not this time!

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